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Zipporah

Hardly an ideal role model but the story of her marriage to Moses in Exodus 2 raises questions about how we cope in a relationship when we don’t agree. If you want an honest portrayal of the sacrifice involved in marriage and the struggle of being obedient to God then you’ll find it here.

Hagar

She was Sarah and Abraham’s Egyptian slave, and implicit in the affair and betrayal of trust in God. Sarah’s jealousy over her pregnancy led Hagar to run away into the wilderness. But God never left Hagar, he comforted her as provided water. What a wonderful (if harrowing) tale of God caring for the outsider.

Hannah

Hannah was mother to the prophet Samuel. The story of his birth shows a character of incredible faith (1 Samuel 1). Hannah was barren and constantly taunted about it by her husband’s other wife. She cried out to God for a son, promising that she would give him back to God if she became pregnant. Sure enough, Samuel was born and she gave him to the temple in thanks to God’s gift. Her song of thanksgiving is often paralleled to Mary’s (Jesus’ mum) Magnificat.

Deborah and Jael

Deborah was the judge who practically held Barak’s hand during the defeat of his enemies in Judges 4. He was too chicken to go without her, so Deborah prophetically warned him that God would punish him by being sorely beaten by a girl (which in a patriarchal society would have been a real blow). Sure enough Jael (Heber’s wife) led Barak’s enemy Sisera into her tent where Jael drove a tent peg through Sisera’s skull. Deborah then burst into Beyonce-style worship of God and his victory over the Israelite enemies. Brutal proof that girls can run the world – or at least an ancient battlefield.

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